NAVIGATION


Introduction | Programme of Events | Event Details | Subscribe to SA Jazz Cultures Mailing List




South African Jazz Cultures and the Archive

University of York, 4-9 September 2015


Welcome to six days of discussions, public lectures, book readings, film showings, record launches and live music that together initiate the two year British Academy Newton Advanced Fellowship project South African Jazz Cultures and the Archive in association with the University of York Department of Music.


We are delighted to welcome leading musicians and scholars to York to examine the vibrant world of South African jazz from a range of different perspectives.


All the events are open to the public, and the majority are free (although you’ll need to book a ticket).


Email: jonathan.eato@york.ac.uk




PROGRAMME OF EVENTS


Friday 4th September 2015

18.30-19.45 | Rymer Auditorium | Public Lecture | Event Details

Professor Christopher Ballantine (University of KwaZulu Natal, South Africa)

Song, Memory, Power and the South African Archive


20.00-21.00 | Music Research Centre | Reception | Event Details

Project Launch Reception



Saturday 5th September 2015

17.00-18.15 | Rymer Auditorium | Book Reading | Event Details

Catherine and Darius Brubeck

Two takes from "Jazz Life", a work in progress


18.30-19.45 | Rymer Auditorium | Film Project in Progress | Event Details

Eugene Skeef (Umoya Creations)

Bheki Mseleku - Keeper Of The Home



Sunday 6th September 2015

15.00-16.30 | Berwick Saul Building | Round Table Discussion | Event Details

Adam Glasser (chair), Nduduzo Makhathini, Tete Mbambisa, and Pinise Saul

South African Jazz Standards Legacy Project


17.00-18.30 | Berwick Saul Building | Round Table Discussion | Event Details

Dr Lindelwa Dalamba (chair), Maxine McGregor, Vuyiswa Ngcwangu, and Pinise Saul

Women in South African jazz



Monday 7th September 2015

18.30-19.45 | Rymer Auditorium | Public Lecture | Event Details

Dr Sazi Dlamini (University of KwaZulu Natal)

[De]articulations of mbaqanga in South African engagements with the jazz influence



Tuesday 8th September 2015

18.30-19.45 | Rymer Auditorium | Public Lecture | Event Details

Dr Lindelwa Dalamba (University of Witwatersrand)

Emergent Music: South African Jazz and the Postcolony



Wednesday 9th September 2015

19.30-21.30 | National Centre for Early Music | Concert | Event Details

Tete Mbambisa (piano) and his Big 'SA-UK' Sound

with Julian Argüelles (tenor), Chris Batchelor (trumpet), Steve Buckley (alto), Gilbert Matthews (drums) Vuysiwa Ngcwangu (voice) and Steve Watts (bass)





EVENT DETAILS


18.30-19.45 | Friday 4th September 2015

Rymer Auditorium | Public Lecture | Book here (free)

Professor Christopher Ballantine (University of KwaZulu Natal, South Africa)

Song, Memory, Power and the South African Archive


In post-apartheid South Africa no less than in the era before 1994, intense contestations about entitlement and ownership continue to smoulder within the public sphere. Though focussed largely on resources such as land, the debates also erupt within the domain and practices of culture, including music. One long-standing musical feud recently reached new heights of visibility – and a saddening conclusion. At stake was the issue of who could rightfully claim to hold the ‘title deeds’ to one of the country’s best-known and most frequently arranged, performed and recorded songs. Originally a simple lullaby, the song is ‘Thula Baba’. Going to war over it were two giants of the South African music industry: the record company Gallo on the one hand, and the touring and internationally successful musical Umoja on the other. Theirs was a bitter legal battle, with a great deal to be won or lost.


The point on which the legal battle turned was whether, as Umoja alleged, ‘Thula Baba’ was an old, neo-traditional song in the public domain that the Gallo stable had unashamedly ‘stolen’, or whether, as Gallo claimed, the song was actually composed just 50 years ago and then properly copyrighted. More important still, the battle was premised upon a deeper, more universal problematic. Though entirely hidden from view, the issues being fought over were inextricably linked to power: how societies organise reality, how knowledge is produced and legitimated, in whose interests this occurs, and how this might be contested.


This presentation will look at this recent confrontation and tease out its most significant meanings.


-- -- --


Christopher Ballantine is LG Joel Professor of Music Emeritus at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, and a University Fellow. His books and articles cover a wide range of issues in the fields of the sociology of music, music and meaning, popular music studies, musicology and ethnomusicology. One of his best-known books has recently been published in a revised and substantially expanded second edition, under the title Marabi Nights: Jazz, 'Race' and Society in Early Apartheid South Africa. It has won the UKZN Book Prize.


Click here to book via KweekWeek (free) | Back to navigation




20.00-21.00 | Friday 4th September 2015

Music Research Centre | Reception | Book here (free)

Join us for drinks in the Music Research Centre to celebrate the launch of South African Jazz Cultures and the Archive and meet some of the project participants. A chance also to hear sounds from forthcoming archival releases featuring Tete Mbambisa from Matsuli Music (Inhlupeko on vinyl) and JISA Records (African Day and Inhlupeko on CD).


-- -- --


Matsuli Music is an independent record label specializing in high–quality vinyl reissues of South African afro-jazz. Run by Matt Temple in the UK and Chris Albertyn in South Africa the label has released seven albums to widespread acclaim, including recordings by Dick Khoza, Batsumi, Sathima Bea Benjamin, Ndikho Xaba, Derek Gripper, Tete Mbambisa and The Soul Jazzmen. Matt and Chris are both contributors to Electric Jive, the definitive web site on lost South African sounds.


JISA Records was set up in 2012 as a collaborative venture between Tete Mbambisa and Jonathan Eato. The founding aim was to release Tete Mbambisa’s solo piano recording Black Heroes and has developed to explore the various ways in which an artistic-academic partnership can be mutually beneficial.


Click here to book via kweekweek (free) | Back to navigation




17.00-18.15 | Saturday 5th September 2015

Rymer Auditorium | Book Reading | Book here (free)

Catherine and Darius Brubeck

Two takes from "Jazz Life", a work in progress


Catherine and Darius Brubeck worked together on jazz education projects in South Africa for almost 25 years, meeting remarkable people and living through challenging and changing times. Looking back they wonder if Zim Ngqawana’s mantra, ‘it’s the music’ (that matters) was made more dramatic and important by time and place and whether ‘the struggle for jazz’ was more than just a slogan. Could an Allen Kwela or a Sandile Shange rise to the top of any pile and was the music they played truly original? Was the jazz life itself an exceptional and lucky diversion from the bitterness of an unjust society.


They will read sketches from Jazz Life, a book in progress, which will describe their personal journey, revelling in incident and appreciation of South African jazz.


-- -- --


Pianist, Composer and Professor of Jazz Studies, Darius Brubeck was the Director of the Centre for Jazz & Popular Music at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa until 2006 when he moved to London and established his highly successful band, The Darius Brubeck Quartet.


After graduating from Wesleyan University where he studied ethnomusicology and history of religion, Brubeck led his own bands and later toured the world with his famous father and brothers (Dave, Darius, Chris and Dan Brubeck). He moved to South Africa in 1983, to initiate the first Jazz Studies degree offered by an African university, gaining international recognition for his work in education and for his recordings and concerts with South African musicians. He has also taught in Turkey and Romania as a Fulbright professor.


In addition to leading The Darius Brubeck Quartet, he tours annually with his brothers Chris and Dan and UK sax star Dave O’Higgins as Brubecks Play Brubeck. Darius has created music for all types of ensemble, large and small, and one of his recent pieces is now included in The Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music Grade 5 Piano syllabus. For further information see: dariusbrubeck.com


Catherine Brubeck: A graduate of the University of Natal, Brubeck worked for political change as a student and became the National Secretary of the Liberal Party, which disbanded when the apartheid government legislated against racially integrated organizations. In 1967, she left South Africa for New York, where she had a long and varied career in publishing, conference organizing and music management. She worked for The Seabury Press, the Executive Council of the Episcopal Church, The Duke Ellington Orchestra conducted by Mercer Ellington and for Dave Brubeck.


Catherine returned to South Africa with her husband, Darius and started fund-raising for jazz scholarships and financial assistance for needy students. For more than twenty years, she initiated and organized tours and concerts for students and professional South African jazz groups. These included cultural exchange visits that took young South African musicians across the globe to the United States, Peru, Thailand, South Korea, Germany, Italy, and Turkey.


Click here to book via kweekweek (free) | Back to navigation




18.30-19.45 | Saturday 5th September 2015

Rymer Auditorium | Film Project in Progress | Book here (free)

Eugene Skeef (Umoya Creations)

Bheki Mseleku - Keeper Of The Home


A work in progress - Eugene Skeef shares scenes from his film about the impact of his friend Bheki Mseleku’s music and personality on those who have come into contact with the legendary South African musician.


Eugene Skeef was forced to leave his native South Africa in 1980 and go into exile because of his political and cultural activism with Steve Biko and other colleagues from the Black Consciousness Movement.


The consciousness-raising programme of activities of this important era included working with musicians as key figures in the cultural campaign against Apartheid. Bheki Mseleku became one of the Movement’s musicians of choice. Thus Eugene and Bheki developed a very close bond and common creative values. This bond was such that when Eugene had to flee, his closest friend and compatriot joined him.


Eugene will be sharing clips of his unfinished film about Bheki and discussing the extent of the brilliant musician’s influence on family, friends and musicians from different parts of the world who had the fortune to interact with him.


Click here to book via kweekweek (free) | Back to navigation




15.00-16.30 | Sunday 6th September 2015

Berwick Saul Building | Round Table Discussion | Book here (free)

Adam Glasser (chair), Tete Mbambisa, Nduduzo Makhathini and Pinise Saul

South African Jazz Standards Legacy Project


A 'jazz standard' could be defined as a song of quality which remains in the memory and endures because jazz musicians continue to perform it. South Africa’s unique contribution in this area includes a treasure of little known compositions that deserve consideration as 'jazz standards'.


Initiated with the assistance of the SA-UK Season 2015 Glasser’s project has three aims: to research, educate and stimulate discussion of South African jazz legacy and present performances in Johannesburg and London. In July 2015 at the new Motswako Cultural Hub in Sophiatown, Glasser and a band of South African musicians performed a concert of rarely played SA jazz standards (including songs from the musical King Kong based on his father’s recently rediscovered scores) and Glasser also hosted a day of debate and discussion entitled “South African Jazz Standards – what qualifies as a great song?” In November, members of the South African band will come to London for a concert combined with UK jazz musicians of this same legacy material.


Join Adam and his panel of distinguished South African jazz musicians to listen to and discuss the repertoire of South African jazz compositions, and make your own suggestions for inclusion into the hall of fame.


-- -- --


South African harmonica player and pianist Adam Glasser has been passionate on this topic all his life. Hearing Allen Kwela, Barney Rachabane and Mackay Davashe as a teenager in Johannesburg, Glasser’s interest developed further gigging in London with Dudu Pukwana in the ’80s and the Manhattan Brothers in the ’90s. Glasser’s recorded output (SAMA Award Best Jazz Album: Winner 2010, Nominee 2012) and festival performances (CTIJF 2012, Joy of Jazz 2013, Grahamstown Festival 2014) all feature rare South African jazz standards, played on the harmonica.


Tete Mbambisa has performed and recorded with many of the giants of South African jazz (Bazil ‘Manenberg’ Coetzee, Johnny Dyani, Lulu Gontsana, Dick Khoza, Early Mabuza, Duku Makasi, Hugh Masekela, Nik Moyake, Ezra Ngcukana, Winston Mankunku Ngozi, Dudu Pukwana, Barney Rachabane et al), and is one of the very few South African jazz musicians that can claim to have played with the three jazz generations of the last fifty years. He featured in Pascale Lamche’s 2003 movie Sophiatown, and his compositions have been recorded by The Blue Notes, Adam Glasser, Chris McGregor, McCoy Mrubata and Brian Thusi. His work as a pianist, vocalist, composer and arranger can also be found on many anthologies of South African jazz.


Nduduzo Makhathini is a South African jazz pianist and composer from uMgungungdlovo, in KwaZulu Natal, South Africa. In 2008 Makhathini joined legendary jazz saxophonist Zim Ngqawana’s Zimology Quartet and subsequently toured with them throughout Europe and the United States. Makhathini has also worked with Andile Yanana, Herbie Tsoaeli, Busi Mhlongo, Madal Kunene, Kesivan Naidoo, Sidney Mavundla, Ayanda Sikade, Omagugu, Jimmy Dludlu, Thandiswa Mazwai, Feya Feku, Salim Washington, Carlo Mombelli, Jonathan Crossley, Adam Glasser, McCoy Mrubata, Mthunzi Mvubu and Malcolm Jiyane, and has produced albums for Xolani Sithole, Mbuso Khoza, Lindiwe Maxolo, Tumi Mogorosi, and Sisa Sophazi. Nduduzo Makhathini was awarded Standard Bank Young Artist for Jazz 2015 and is the first recipient of the masters scholarship funded by the British Academcy Newton Advanced Fellowship project South African Jazz Cultures and the Archive.


Vocalist Pinise Saul began her professional career as a featured artist with Tete Mbambisa’s Four Yanks in 1960s South Africa. She soon became an established and respected figure on the contemporary jazz scene, as is evidenced by Dennis Mpale’s 1968 tribute to her, ‘Pinise’s Dance’ from the Soul Giants album I Remember Nick. The internationally touring 1970s musical theatre show Ipi Ntombi provided Saul with the chance to escape apartheid South Africa and she subsequently performed Bob Marley and Patti Labelle before making her mark on the South African jazz scene in London, notably with Dudu Pukwana’s Zila. Much of Pinise Saul’s London work has been with guitarist Madumetja (aka Lucky) Ranku, in Township Express, the Township Comets and the African Jazz All Stars, among ­others. In 1989 Saul and Ranku co-founded the London-based South African ­Gospel ­Singers.


Click here to book via kweekweek (free) | Back to navigation




17.00-18.30 | Sunday 6th September 2015

Berwick Saul Building | Round Table Discussion | Book here (free)

Dr Lindelwa Dalamba (chair), Maxine McGregor, Vuyiswa Ngcwangu, and Pinise Saul

Women in South African jazz


As with many stereotypes, there is a crude truth behind the idea that jazz music operates in a male-dominated, homosocial world. The perceptions that male musicians make music for an audience of men, in masculine environments, that records are collected and catalogued by bearded savants, that jazz histories are constructed by male authors for male readers, and that the commercial jazz recording industry is run by men, are all, by-and-large, well-founded.


However this can never be the whole story, and jazz scholarship is catching up; see for example Sherrie Tucker’s work, especially her book Swing Shift: “All-Girl” Bands of the 1940s (2001) and (with Nichole T. Rustin) Big Ears: Listening for Gender in Jazz Studies (2008).


Indeed South African jazz music is no exception; from pianist Emily Motsieloa’s early work with the Merry Blackbirds in the 1930s, through to trombonist and vocalist Siyavuya Makhuzeni’s work on the contemporary Johannesburg scene, prominent contributions have been made by women in all areas of the music. Gwen Ansell’s Soweto Blues is one of the primary histories of the music, vocalist Sylvia Ncediwe Mdunyelwa hosted the P4 radio show Voice of Jazz in Cape Town, Maxine McGregor played a pivotal role for South African musicians during their UK exile, and Hazel Miller set up Ogun Records with her husband Harry and is consequently responsible for much of the recorded legacy of progressive South African jazz.


This round table discussion, chaired by jazz historican Dr Lindelwa Dalamba, will consider the role that women have played in South African jazz music. She will be joined by author Maxine McGregor (Chris Mcgregor and the Brotherhood of Breath: My Life with a South African Jazz Pioneer) and vocalists Vuyiswa Ngcwangu (The Soul Jazzmen, Masiye Voices) and Pinise Saul (Zila, The Township Comets).


-- -- --


Lindelwa Dalamba lectures on jazz history in the Wits School of Arts’ Music Department, at the University of the Witwatersrand. She is an historian of South African jazz, focussing on its career in the country and in exile. Prior to her recent work on South African jazz in Britain during the apartheid years, her research interest was on exiled South African jazz musicians’ autobiographies.


Click here to book via kweekweek (free) | Back to navigation




18.30-19.45 | Monday 7th September 2015

Rymer Auditorium | Public Lecture | Book here (free)

Dr Sazi Dlamini (University of KwaZulu Natal)

[De]articulations of mbaqanga in South African engagements with the jazz influence


Meanings attached to mbaqanga bear significantly on how South African marabi-derived idioms are understood and spoken about in their relationship to the jazz influence. Mbaqanga’s re-appearance as an official label on 45-rpm recordings of ‘instrumental’ jive and ‘ethnic’ vocal styles — of the likes of Simon Mahlathini Nkabinde’s Mahotella Queens, Soul Brothers and other bands in the mid-1970s — normally obscures these styles’ historical links to South African jazz practices that emanate from influences of American swing dance orchestras of the 1930s.


This talk focuses on articulations (and de-articulations) in the understandings of mbaqanga — as a term and a musical orientation — since its initial coinage in the early 1950s by South African musicians recording in the jazz, swing and marabi-influenced style.


-- -- --


Sazi Dlamini is music lecturer, band-leader, performer and guitarist in the South African township style. He composes original and collaborative music using self-made, indigenous Nguni (bows, drums & flutes) and other African musical instruments. In addition to full-time teaching at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, he is project leader for Sources of Creativity Catalytic Projects of the National Institute for Humanities and Social Sciences (NIHSS).


Click here to book via kweekweek (free) | Back to navigation




18.30-19.45 | Tuesday 8th September 2015

Rymer Auditorium | Public Lecture | Book here (free)

Dr Lindelwa Dalamba (University of Witwatersrand)

Emergent Music: South African Jazz and the Postcolony


Since at least the 1980s, research on South African jazz history has been driven by a recuperative impulse. Commercially unavailable music was sourced, newspaper archives were trawled to trace the reception of this music, and musicians were given time and space to tell their stories. The best of this research was therefore animated by a democratic imperative, since its aims were to contribute to oral history’s recording of marginalised stories of creative and political agency, and their periodic curtailing. The result has been a story of South African jazz that is unique in its ability to contain, without constraining, the voices that make up this past. Whereas foregrounding such voices in jazz studies tends to be reserved for published anthologies of interviews, South African jazz historiography is ‘loud’. In post-apartheid South Africa, however, these voices fade everyday due to death or inaccessibility. One consequence of this is that young researchers are paying more attention to post-apartheid jazz musicians and their musicking. While this is an equally important field, the question of how studies of South African jazz’s history will fare in comparison remains troubling. This presentation will suggest how historians of South African jazz can revivify their sub-discipline, not least by treating the constricting political borders of the country with some scepticism, and the appellation 'South African' in their subject of study with the same. In attempting to construct – recuperate – the biography of the alto saxophonist Gwigwi Mrwebi, it offers the postcolony as a viable archival space that, in the 1960s, was limned by South African jazz in significant ways.


-- -- --


Lindelwa Dalamba lectures on jazz history in the Wits School of Arts’ Music Department, at the University of the Witwatersrand. She is an historian of South African jazz, focussing on its career in the country and in exile. Prior to her recent work on South African jazz in Britain during the apartheid years, her research interest was on exiled South African jazz musicians’ autobiographies.


Click here to book via kweekweek (free) | Back to navigation




19.30-21.30 | Wednesday 9th September 2015

National Centre for Early Music | Concert | Book here £12 (£5 concessions)

Tete Mbambisa and his Big 'SA-UK' Sound


Tete Mbambisa (piano)
Julian Argüelles (tenor)
Chris Batchelor (trumpet)
Steve Buckley (alto)
Gilbert Matthews (drums)
Vuyiswa Ngcwangu (voice)
Steve Watts (bass)


A unique opportunity to hear pianist and composer Tete Mbambisa - one of the elder statesmen of South African jazz - play live in the UK. Bra Tete will be joined by fellow South Africans and long standing collaborators, vocalist Vuyiswa Ngcwangu and drummer Gilbert Matthews on a programme of Mbambisa originals.


Tete Mbambisa has performed and recorded with many of the giants of South African jazz (Bazil ‘Manenberg’ Coetzee, Johnny Dyani, Lulu Gontsana, Dick Khoza, Early Mabuza, Duku Makasi, Hugh Masekela, Nik Moyake, Ezra Ngcukana, Winston Mankunku Ngozi, Dudu Pukwana, Barney Rachabane et al), and is one of the very few South African jazz musicians that can claim to have played with the three jazz generations of the last fifty years. He featured in Pascale Lamche’s 2003 movie Sophiatown, and his compositions have been recorded by The Blue Notes, Adam Glasser, Chris McGregor, McCoy Mrubata and Brian Thusi. His work as a pianist, vocalist, composer and arranger can also be found on many anthologies of South African jazz.


Bra Tete first came to public attention after recording four sides with his vocal group, The Four Yanks, for Gallo Africa in 1962. Exiled South African pianist Chris McGregor - of Blue Notes and Brotherhood of Breath fame - recalled that ‘Tete Mbambisa’s group... four voices in close harmony, [were] very sophisticated, very modern, superb, with fantastic dance routines. I adored that; they were really very, very fine, very sharp... If one could have heard them in Europe a bit later people would have been knocked out.’


Mbambisa’s unique ability to infuse mbaqanga with contemporary jazz and the reason for the enduring popularity of his music remains abundantly clear to those with an ear for harmonic sophistication and rhythmic drive.


Reviewing his 2012 solo album Black Heroes Gwen Ansell (author of Soweto Blues) noted that ‘if you are seeking heroes, Mbambisa not only wrote about them, he also lived the life.’


In addition to Mam' Vuyiswa (The Soul Jazzmen, and Masiye Voices) and Bra Gilbert (The Brotherhood of Breath), this concert brings together the generation of British players who were most influenced by exiled South African jazz musicians and are now significant stylists in their own right. Julian Argüelles played in Chris McGregor's Brotherhood of Breath at the same time as Gilbert Matthews, one of Chris Batchelor's first professional engagements was with Dudu Pukwana's band, Steve Watts has played bass in the Township Comets for vocalist Pinise Saul, and who can forget Steve Buckley's alto and penny whistle work on Loose Tubes album Open Letter to Dudu Pukwana.


Click here to book via the NCEM website | Back to navigation


Subscribe to the South African Jazz Cultures mailing list

* indicates required
Email Format



[back to navigation]